Windy conditions in Craig didn't slow the Soroco track and field team Thursday, as the boys pre-qualified for the state meet in five events and inched closer in a sixth.
The Rams pre-qualified two runners in the 400 meters, one in the 200 meters and their 1,600-meter and 800-meter relay teams are guaranteed spots at the state meet, to be held May 21 and 22 in Pueblo.
Andy deGanahl finished in 51.53 seconds, and Kory Babcock was just behind in 52.24 as both qualified for the state field in the 400 meters Thursday at the North Park Invitational held at the Moffat County track.
DeGanahl also pre-qualified in the 200 meters with a 22.73. The standard in the 400 is 52.55. The standard in the 200 is 23.37.
This is Babcock's first season running the open 400 meters, while deGanahl will have the opportunity to defend his state title in both events.
The talent both possess in the 400, along with the strong runs turned in by Carl Remick and Trevor Ellis, helped push the 1,600-meter relay below the state pre-qualifying time Thursday. The quartet turned in a time of 3:35.67, which surprised Soroco coach Gary Heide.
"I was talking to another person before, and there was no one else there that was fielding a competitive team, so I thought without competition it wouldn't happen (Thursday)," Heide said.
As expected, the Rams established a lead by the second leg, forcing Babcock and deGanahl to run by themselves on the final two legs, which ended up working out fine, as the team beat the standard of 3:37.08 by nearly 2 seconds.
Soroco's 800-meter relay team of Ellis, Tony Iacovetto, Babcock and deGanahl also pre-qualified for state with a 1:34.03, which was just better than the 1:34.74 standard time.
Babcock just missed the state cut of 40 feet, 9 inches in the triple jump when he jumped 40-7 Thursday to take third place behind a pair of jumpers from Rangely.
On the girls' side, Heide said there was some disappointment from the sprinters because they did not qualify any relays for state. Soroco has two pre-qualifying meets left before regionals.
"They keep comparing themselves to the boys, and they are running fabulous times," Heide said.
The 400- and 800-meter relay teams of Melissa Roy, Kyla Schmidt, Nichole Wilson and Karli Babcock ran a 54.62 and 1:53.29, respectively.
"That 1:53.29 was their best time this year," Heide said. "They were bummed because it was a second off qualifying, but they are running great."
Heide said the 54.62 wasn't a great time, but it was something from which the quartet could build. It was just Babcock's second meet of the season.
In addition to the state qualifiers and the other top times posted by the girls' relays, a host of other Soroco athletes placed at the North Park Invitational.
Roy took second in the 100. Schmidt was second in the long jump. Babcock was third in the 200, and Leah Hendrickson was seventh. Wilson finished fourth in the 400, and Hendrickson was seventh.
Colleen Treanor was third in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600 meters.
The girls 1,600-meter relay team of Hendrickson, Toni Lombardi, Nicci Martin and Jenny Block finished third in 4:57.
On the boys' side, Ellis also took fifth in the 100, and Iacovetto was eighth. Iacovetto was eighth in the 200, as well. Kieran Corrigan finished third in the 800 and 1,600, while Brandon Allen took fourth in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Remick finished fourth in the 300 hurdles, as he continues to learn how to run the event. Nick Rangal was fourth in the shot put.